Netflix no longer wants to share your opinions about TV shows or movies with the rest of the world.
The streaming giant is phasing out user-submitted reviews over the next two months. As first reported by CNET, Netflix will stop accepting user reviews as of July 30. Then, by mid-August, it will delete all reviews customers have submitted.
According to Netflix, over time it has seen a drop in usage of user reviews — which are available only on its website via computers. But some titles have garnered a strong outpouring of feedback: Its popular original series “Stranger Things,” for example, currently has 3,897 reviews on the Netflix U.S. site.
Ultimately, Netflix’s decision to eliminate user reviews likely boiled down to one thing: They probably have not, on balance, driven people to watch more content on the service. Negative reviews, it would seem, aren’t good for business — especially as Netflix increases its spending on original programming.
The reviews feature on Netflix has allowed viewers to rate a TV show or movie using a five-star scale. The reviews must be at least 80 characters, with a max of 1,999 characters.
Netflix’s shutdown of user reviews comes a little more than a year after it killed the long-standing five-star rating systems for content recommendations. Now, users rate titles using thumbs-up or thumbs-down, and Netflix displays a personalized percentage “match score” for titles based on its calculation of what kind of TV shows and movies you’ll enjoy.
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According to Netflix, thumbs-based ratings deliver more accurate recommendations and they’re easier for people to understand than the five-star scale. The company said that in testing, it saw a 200% increase in ratings by users with the thumbs-up/thumbs-down system.
Other digital-content services — including Amazon and Apple’s iTunes — continue to list user ratings and reviews. Last year, Amazon-owned IMDb shut down user discussion boards because, it said, they were “no longer providing a positive, useful experience” for the majority of its users.